—Stephen Moffat at some point probably
+ Study: Police see black children as less innocent and less young than white children
“Children in most societies are considered to be in a distinct group with characteristics such as innocence and the need for protection,” study author and professor of psychology at UCLA Phillip Atiba Goff said of the study. “Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.”
The goal of the study, according to researchers, was to determine the extent to which respondents dehumanized young black children, and how this racist dehumanization can lead to violence and unjust treatment. “[I]f human childhood affords protections against harsh, adult-like treatment, then in contexts where these children are dehumanized, they can be treated with adult severity” — specifically in the criminal justice system, researchers wrote.
As Philip Bump at the Wire notes, college students tended to overestimate the ages of young boys who were presented as having committed a felony by 4.53 years, meaning that 13 and 14 year old children were determined by respondents to be legal adults. Police officers tended overestimate these boys’ ages by 4.59 years. Overall, researchers note, participants viewed black children aged 10 and older as “significantly less innocent than other children of every age group.”
There was also a correlation between the police officers’ responses and their record of using force against people suspected of a crime, specifically young black boys, though Goff noted that “future research should try to clarify the relationship between dehumanization and racial disparities in police use of force.”
The research is a disturbing snapshot of racism in America and its consequences for black children. “Most children are allowed to be innocent until adulthood,” researchers wrote, “black children may be perceived as innocent only until deemed suspicious.”
“The evidence shows that perceptions of the essential nature of children can be affected by race, and for black children, this can mean they lose the protection afforded by assumed childhood innocence well before they become adults,” said co-author Matthew Jackson. “With the average age overestimation for black boys exceeding four-and-a-half years, in some cases, black children may be viewed as adults when they are just 13 years old.”
…[W]hen presuming that nothing could possibly be that bad in an attractive woman’s life that she dare not smile, you are dehumanizing them. It’s a “nice” form of dehumanization, but it’s still dehumanization nonetheless. It’s also transparent. You don’t see men running up to homeless women and the elderly and asking them to smile. The request is usually made when the requester thinks the requestee is attractive. It’s not about a legitimate need for women to be happy as much as it’s that smiling/pleasant-looking women are easier on the eyes and more inviting to approach. It’s really not about the woman at all.
If you really are that hard-pressed for a woman to smile, tell a joke, slip on a banana peel, pay her phone bill; basically, instead of asking a stranger to fake an expression for you, do something that might legitimately brighten her day. Who knows, she might even smile. And, she might not. You have no control over that, and that’s kinda the point.
—I Stopped Telling Women to Smile (and You Should, Too) | Ebony